Italy in the Inner West, NatGeo river trips and a day at the beach

Mr & Mrs Romance - The Weekly Edition - Italy in the Inner West, NatGeo river trips and a day at the beach

It’s never a bad thing when your hometown surprises you, is it? Sydney’s done just that this week with a run of warm weather. This happening on our side of the clocks going back always cheers people up. The impending doom and gloom of winter can put a downer on things.

But warms days coupled with a delicious meal at a local Italian place, a trip to one of Sydney’s stunning harbour beaches and some interesting news from National Geographic sets this week up for fun.

We hope you enjoy The Weekly Edition!

Cheers – Jim & Christina xx

ReccoLab, Rozelle - northwestern Italian restaurant

Tonight, we’re out for dinner at an Italian restaurant in Rozelle in Sydney. ReccoLab Cucina Italiana – named after owner Antonio Zambarelli’s home town Recco near Genoa on the Italian Riviera – specialises in Ligurian dishes.

I’ve been here before when ReccoLab launched their aperitivo hour. I love this Italian snack tradition, and ReccoLab’s version of it definitely did a good job. So we’re excited to see what the rest of the menu is like here.

In particular, we’re keen to see how the kitchen delivers the Ligurian speciality focaccia col formaggio – a kind of pizza in its own way, but made with very thin focaccia bread. But the cheese they use here is stracchino, an incredible type of Italian cheese.

ReccoLab, Rozelle - northwestern Italian restaurant

ReccoLab cleverly jumped all the way onto the Aperol spritz band waggon – a cocktail trend that came from Italy and has swept through Australia like a delicious, refreshing orange wildfire. I love this Aperol cart they have, and the spritz they make here – using proper Italian prosecco of course – are excellent.

ReccoLab, Rozelle - northwestern Italian restaurant

After our Aperol spritz, Christina and I look through the ReccoLab wine list, which is laden with Italian vino. I’m excited to see they have a Pugliese wine here – negroamaro. It’s a rich, dark red wine – perfect for what I’ve ordered for dinner.

But for all the details of our time at ReccoLab, you’ll have to wait until later this week. We’ll be showing you in more depth what Ligurian delicacies we enjoyed here.

Watsons Bay beach and ferry wharf

With some of the horrible weather we’ve been having recently, I really thought that we’d seen the last of the summer. However, today the sun’s resurfaced, so we’ve taken the ferry ride to Watsons Bay.

This beautiful part of Sydney on the south-eastern limits of the harbour is a must if you’re visiting Sydney for the first time. But  even if you live here, it’s one of the best places to come to when the sun’s smiling down.

Watsons Bay, Australia

Further into the main park (Robertson Park) at Watsons Bay, the views back across the water to the city in the distance are spectacular. It feels like you’re a long way from the hubbub and rush of town here. But really the ferry only takes under 25 minutes to get you here.

Watsons Bay and The Gap

On the ocean side of Watsons Bay is The Gap – a dramatic cliff view down into the crashing ocean waves below. From here you can see out across the entrance to Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour to Manly. If you’re in the mood, this whole area makes for a beautiful coastal hike.

Doyle's chips at Watsons Bay - Green Point Reserve Camp Cove

We are not in the mood for that kind of thing.

Instead, we grab some chips from the Doyle’s kiosk and head away from the crowded wharf towards Camp Cove. The chips at Doyle’s this time are a lot better than I remember – it could be that we’re here before the craziness of the lunchtime rush (about 11.45), and the queue to order and pick up our food didn’t take too long either. But the chips are pretty close to what I’d expect back in the Uk.

Perched high above the water on Green Point Reserve, we munch on our lunch and enjoy the view out over the harbour.

Camp Cove beach Watsons Bay

Christina at Camp Cove beach Watsons Bay

Down at the beach of Camp Cove, the water looks so inviting – too inviting for Christina. She’s wisely brought her swimmers along and enjoys a quick dip.

She’s brave about it too – on the way up to our picnic spot she slipped on a wet rock and down she went. Thankfully my phone, which she was holding at the time, broke her fall! Somehow it stayed in one piece – probably because we’ve already paid for AppleCare – but her shin has taken a nasty knock.

At least the cool waters of an Autumnal dip will help a bit.*

*A few days on and Christina’s leg is almost completely better. She used a lot of arnica cream and the bruise never really developed the way we thought it would.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Watsons Bay

We head up the path and back to the ferry. At the top, we’re taking a couple of photos and a lady asks if we would like one together. She’s waiting for her friend, who’s driving to park at the top here, but it’s almost 1pm and there are no spaces anywhere.

It’s a good tip if you’re thinking of driving to Watsons Bay. Either get here before 11am or take the bus or ferry.

Australian Museum, Sydney

Today, we’re at the Australian Museum for lunch with our ASTW friends. We’re meeting with representatives of National Geographic and Scenic, who have come together to offer a new kind of travel experience.

We’re excited to be here at the Australian Museum since its refurbishments. This was one of the options for our wedding venue at one point, which would have been pretty cool.

Champagne view Australian Museum

The views out over the city from the balcony of the museum’s event space are great – and you can enjoy this view from the cafe here too.

We’re lucky again with the weather though. Since our trip to the beach, it’s been touch and go with the rain.

National Geographic and Scenic Expeditions

Over lunch, National Geographic Expeditions and Scenic tell us about the range of European river journeys they’ve have put together. They sound so compelling – the luxury, knowledge and expertise of Scenic as a travel provider with NatGeo’s 130-year legacy of science, conservation and exploration are the perfect mix.

We’ve been on a National Geographic voyage before, so we know how good these river journeys are going to be. For more info on our trip around the Kimberley Region, click here.

European river expeditions with National Geographic and Scenic start in 2020. Click here to find out more about this exclusive partnership between these two ground-breaking travel brands.

Sydney Swans vs MFC at SCG

This evening, I’ve left Christina at home as I head to watch the footie. I’m with my mates Anton, Paul, Bull and Dean to see how Sydney Swans go against Melbourne at the SCG. We’re here early enough to snag good seats in the members’ area. Let’s hope the Swans get up.

Sydney Swans vs MFC at SCG

I always find sporting events in Australia so much better natured than in the UK. Opposition fans sit in the same stands – sometimes even next to each other. There’s an amicable, fun vibe in the air.

Down on the pitch, the Swans and Demons aren’t getting on quite so well. But there’s a good amount of shithousery going on, which I always enjoy.

Sadly, our support isn’t enough tonight and the Swans capitulate after a strong start in the first two quarters.

Mr & Mrs Romance - Australian Museum National Geographic and Scenic

It’s been a fun week and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it.

Cheers – Jim & Christina x

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